Title: The Coldest Winter of Our Time
Little Plastic Bird
Warnings: None really.
Disclaimer: X-men Evolution is not mine, obviously. The title comes from the song "Capturing Moods" by Rilo Kiley.
Notes: I tried.
Thanks/Dedications: Maria (Tokay), my dear sister who betas and gives moral support.
Feedback: Pretty please?
The Coldest Winter of Our Time
Tiptoeing backwards, Kitty Pryde looked defensively to each side until she backed into something solid. Gasping, she whipped around only to release a relieved sigh. It was only a sturdy, little, bare-branched tree. Kitty relaxed against the trunk, closed her eyes and dropped her guard for moment to catch her breath.
Her heart was beating madly in her chest.
The only sound audible was the chilled air passing through the trees of the forest. Snow whirled from the clouds and spun to the ground where it was thoroughly blanched, but not before filtering through the tree branches. Stray snowflakes fluttered down and found themselves in Kitty's mahogany hair that was down from its accustomed ponytail.
Having caught her breath and somewhat calmed her racing pulse, she waited. When nothing came Kitty relaxed a bit more. Eyes closed, she stuck out her tongue and caught a snowflake. It tasted like water, but she liked to pretend snowflakes tasted of powered sugar. It made her feel as if she was five all over again, with pink Barbie galoshes and mittens with pom-poms, and her father shoving snow in the driveway, her mother brushing it off their black sedan, and herself building mounds of it in the backyard to sled down.
A crunch of snow behind the tree trunk she leaned against disrupted Kitty's reminiscing. Her eyes snapped open she pushed off thee tree and darted off westward. She could feel her pursuer close behind, but she didn't dare look back.
Running in a series of erratic beelines and zigzags around trees (a tactic she picked up from excessive training sessions and too numerous missions) she attempted to shake him off, but he to, was well trained and remained a mere two feet behind.
Her pursuer was quickly closing the space between the two when Kitty ran right off to a slight drop-off, and though it was slight it was considerable enough for her to fall onto her back. She yelped as her head fell back into a mound of snow.
Oh it was over for her now. Her pursuer would be before her in a matter of seconds. Instantly she squeezed her blue eyes shut with anticipation, she awaited for the blow, the strike, the shot, the wallop, or whatever else it would be. Seconds passed into minutes and then into what seemed like eternity.
But there was nothing but the frozen breeze in her ears.
Bravely she cracked one eye, upon seeing no one she opened the other and glanced around at her surroundings.
Faint tire tracks were imprinted in the snow. Above her head was an opaque canopy of snow etched with deep brown tree branches, like veins in marble. A perched sparrow spread its wings and flew away shaking snow form a branch, allowing sunlight to penetrate the canopy. A single island of light formed on the snow.
It was oh-so picturesque, but almost too maudlin for Kitty's taste.
Kitty stood up and dusting snow from her back. She shivered visibly for some snow had made its way down the sleeve of her coat.
From behind she heard a bamf and in a fraction of a second, a snowball phased through her head. Kitty turned around to proclaim her incredible feat with laughing eyes.
She was cut off with a mouth full of snow. Gales of laughter greeted Kitty along with Kurt's fuzzy blue self. Sputtering the frozen water out of her mouth, the brunette glared daggers at Kurt, which only led him to double over laughing.
"Oh Keety! Your face! It vas too much!" the elf said splintered between each gale.
Growling, Kitty charged toward Kurt. The fuzzy elf stopped laughing with widened eyes and bamfed away in the nick of time. Unfortunately, the blued-eyed girl fell head first into a bank of snow. Her face stung with what was either the sub-zero snow or humiliation. Perhaps both.
Again Kurt laughed hysterically, now hanging upside-down from a tree branch by his prehensile tail.
Kurt by nature, and years of acrobatics, was very lean and especially lithe but the branch was rather thin, so thin in fact that it by its end it seemed no much thicker than a pencil. So it wasn't a huge shock, but to him it was, when the branch gave way under his weight.
Not before this moment had Kitty believed in karma, now she found her thinking otherwise.
The blue elf was on his feet when he smiled sheepishly, "Even?"
Kitty smiled genuinely back, "Not by a long shot, Fuzzy." And with that she darted toward Kurt tackling him to the ground. The two friends rolled around on the dusted ground, phasing through trees and bamfing around them. The quiet forest was filled with the soft laughter. Above them the fall of snowflakes slowed, sparrows returned to their trees and the sun shone in the clearing skies.
Upon tiring themselves the two lay on their backs a few inches apart. They had fallen into a comfortable silence. After a moment Kitty turned her head to face Kurt. His bright yellow eyes where gazing intently upward through the canopy of slender branches at now patches of sky outlined by brilliant melting snow.
His pointed ears twitched between wisps of longish indigo hair. His tail idly treaded through Kitty's sprawled mahogany tresses.
"Yes," Kitty answered faraway, still staring at Kurt. Then she turned her head to the sight above before adding, "Yes, it is."
The snow on ground was becoming too cold for Kitty's hands which rested atop it, in the action of moving them her hands brushed against Kurt's. Kitty's insides tightened at the feeling of his velvety fur, and instantly she busied her hands, and eyes, with the wet wool of her off-white and pink striped scarf.
She ignored the pain caused by moving her numb fingers. She also ignored the thought that she could not remember last time Lance got that reaction out of her.
"Are you happy?"
"What do you mean-- in general or right now?" Kitty asked, wondering what he was trying to get at.
"Both I suppose." Kurt was still facing upward.
"Yes," Kitty replied simply after a moment. It wasn't a lie and wasn't entirely the truth, but it was close enough. She was happy now. "Are you?" she asked with concern underlining her voice.
"Ja," he turned to her flashing a full fanged smile as if to reassure her.
"Good." She tried to leave all traces skepticism out of her expression.
Silence washed over the two again and the matter was dropped. Reaching behind her head Kitty stretched her stiff arms. When bringing them back to in front of herself she brought Kurt's tail with them, which had been still playing with her hair. Gently she examined it.
It was soft like the rest of Kurt's fur but the hairs where much shorter. Her fingers trailed along a small part of its length to the spaded end, there she traced along the edge of it with her pointer finger. Kitty could almost hear Kurt purring. She smiled. She knew was overstepping the careful borders the two had drawn around themselves. The borders were necessary but not so much wanted on her part at least.
Kitty had not a time or date as to when she had begun to feel this way. She was certain it wasn't a random, out of the blue kind of thing. And she knew they just didn't sprout from her growing boredom with Lance.
It just happened, and now she found herself dropping the most obvious hints. Of course, none of which the blue elf noticed, or just didn't acknowledge. It baffled Kitty in the way they were so painfully obvious the others had begun notice her lovelorn stares and sighs.
Rogue had simply told her to 'back off' one night in the room they shared. Kitty knew the southern girl was looking out for her half-bother and even her, but it just wasn't the something that could have been forgetting in the morning.
Her feelings toward Kurt scared her, but they also excited her. And they also hurt her.
Though his eyes were dazed with pleasure there also a questioning stare Kurt gave the small brunette. Kitty shot a playful smile and wink and said, "Sorry, just couldn't keep my hands to myself."
"Not many can. Vhat can I say, chicks dig the fuzzy dude!" Kurt laughed.
Kitty giggled releasing the elf's tail. "I haven't heard that from in a long while. You know it feels like forever since it just you and me."
"Ach, I know. We've both been busy," the elf remarked with a twinge of regret. It was true Kurt had Amanda and Kitty had Lance, and in the process of juggling that with school, homework, and squeezing in personal time, they found no time for best friend bonding.
Unbeknownst to Kurt, Kitty had been making less time for Lance and more for him, but he was never around anymore. It was wrong and selfish and especially unfair to Lance but Kitty did it anyway.
It was hopeless as well. Kitty knew perfectly well that Kurt was devoted to Amanda; she was, after all, an amiable girl who loved him completely.
Amanda was smart, caring, very pretty and understanding. She had loved Kurt from the moment she saw the real him. Unlike Kitty.
It took Kitty time and trial for her even keep from jumping every time he walked(or teleported) into a room, let alone touch her.
Amanda made Kurt happy. And that was perhaps one of things Kitty hated most about her. Under different circumstances she was sure that she and Amanda would have been good friends, but since that they weren't she despised, loathed and held the greatest abhorrence for the Sefton girl.
Amanda had taken Kitty's best friend, she hadn't meant to but she did.
They used to be inseparable.
Kurt used to love her.
"I miss us." Kitty hoped he would get it.
"Me too." He didn't.
She signed inwardly, it didn't matter. She could be happy. She could learn to kiss Lance and not let her mind wander. She could learn to stop chasing after her best friend. She could get over him. He had gotten over her, so why couldn't she do the same?
"So, I'd say I von that this match," Kurt said suddenly, changing the subject.
It took Kitty moment to understand what he was talking about and then she brightened, "Ha, I don't think so, pal. Who threw that last snowball? That's right, yours truly."
"I'm afraid your memory is flawed, fräulein."
"Whatever, Fuzzy," Kurt mimicked. In falsetto.
"I so do not talk that."
"You so do."
"Nah, I'll think I'll continue, if you don't mind."
Kitty knew how to shut him up. Fast.
"Oh gosh, Kurt, I just remembered, I have some tasty muffins waiting for you at the mansion! Baked 'em fresh this morning," she paused tapping her chin with a numb finger in mock concentration. "Oh yeah, so I kinda like lost, the recipe when I was making them this morning, so I like totally improvised. Don't worry; they're just a bit black on the outside but you can like so scrape it off, I bet they're like, soft, like you know, inside."
If Kurt hadn't been blue, Kitty was sure he would have been green right then. She briefly thought of moving away from him, his sickly expression wasn't helping much.
She had hard time keeping a straight face. Oh the power she had, she could make the gallant, the feared, the demonic-looking Nightcrawler, cower. Perhaps she should have marketed her muffins as kryptonite. Kurtonite. Kryptokurt. Elfonite.
Or perhaps just 'muffins'.
Kitty had let him squirm for long enough, now it was pitiful on her part. "I was just kidding, Kurt."
"Oh thank gott! Don't say such things, Katchzen, such horrible things," he said clutching his heart. "I think you just me gave me a minor stroke."
The brunette scowled flicking snow at his face.
"Hey! It not my fault your muffins are fatal to my health!" The elf held up his hands defensively, "At least I'm not lying to you. If I wasn't a real freund then I vould tell you your muffins vere vunderbar."
"Gee, Kurt, I guess you're a real friend after all," she tried to say it deadpan but her resolve dissolved in to a giddy fit of giggles. Kurt followed suit.
Kitty forgot the world with Kurt, all of its hatred, and sadness, poverty, war, and evil. His laugh was harmony. It was spun in silk and embroidered in gold but held all the simplicity of cotton.
When the two calmed, Kitty rolled to on her side and looked Kurt square in the eye. Blue into yellow. She had never felt braver.
"Is it too late for us?"
"Please, Katchzen, don't start," Kurt answered gently.
"Is it, Kurt?"
"I love Amanda."
"I know," it was a flat reply; there was no bitterness, just a bit of sadness that could have been easily overlooked.
Inside, the balance of her world was amiss, so much so that the carefully constructed supports collapsed and down came everything that Kitty held dear. But quickly with nimble fingers she covered it with tarp shaped like a smile. She would ignore the tightness in her chest. She would sallow the pointless declaration of love that lingered on the tip of her tongue.
The cold had bled through the two pairs of jeans she had layered and her fingers felt nonexistent. Shadows cast by the trees danced off the brunette's face, the ocher sun was setting. It was time to head back to the Institute.
Kitty stretched noisily. "Wow, it sure got late fast! We'd better head back or Ororo is gonna flip," she looked down to Kurt and asked, "Coming?"
He searched her usually translucent blue eyes and expected a melee of emotions, but when he found nothing but her familiar cheeriness, he was a bit hurt. It was rather egotistical for him to be so, but he wanted to be reassured that she cared that deeply about him. He wanted to be reassured thatshe was sincere.
Hesitantly he got to his feet and extended and a blue three-fingered hand to her. "Shall ve take the express?" He wouldn't allow their relationship to be even the slightest awkward not for anything. He couldn't.
Kitty beamed, possibly for real. "Let us," and with that she placed her small hand in his and two disappeared in with small bamf. They left nothing behind expect for their echoed silence, the thick smell of sulfur and brimstone and their imprints upon snow.